A nursing union says it is “very disap- pointed” by a hospital trust’s rating following an inspection.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it would be working alongside staff and managers at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust to help boost its performance.

A report published by the Care Quality Commission said the trust “required improvement” following an inspection earlier this year.

Inspectors visited the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

The report said A&E services in particular were struggling to cope with surges in demand, which led to long delays for patients.

It said patient flow through the trust was poor.

This is partly caused by high numbers of bed-blocking patients unable to be discharged because no nursing or care home place can be found for them.

Other concerns raised in the report included problems with outpatients appointments and staffing levels in some departments.

RCN Sussex officer Sue Huggins said she hoped the trust could make the significant progress needed to improve its rating.

She said: “The Royal College of Nursing is working alongside the trust to aid future improvements in workforce planning, safe staffing levels and in the investment of nursing and healthcare staff.

“All of which will help to ensure that good quality patient care is delivered.” Independent patient group, Brighton and Hove Healthwatch, said it had been made aware of issues with A&E and wait- ing times after patients had got in touch.
It is working on a project looking at improving hospital discharge and will also be part of a new group looking at how the emergency department at the Royal Sussex could be redesigned.

Healthwatch manager Claire Jones said: “Although there are clear areas of improvement needed we were pleased to see areas of outstanding service.

“We are happy to support the trust in its work to improve services, especially to reduce inappropriate admissions to A&E.

“We hope the trust will take immediate action to improve services and its ratings to good and outstanding.”